Flawed and Outdated Animal Models

Animal-Based Science is Bad for Animals—And People

Animal use in science is based on the questionable presumption that data from animal models can accurately apply to humans. But in the 21st century, we know that’s simply not the case. 

Studies continue to demonstrate that animal models simply aren’t working. In fact, evidence shows that in certain areas of research, the animal model may even be holding us back from scientific breakthroughs. On average, it takes approximately 13 years and $1 billion to develop a new drug. Yet 90 percent of drugs that advance to human clinical trials following promising animal tests ultimately fail in humans.  

How much time, how much money, and how many lives are lost due to false starts, dead ends and results that do not translate to humans? 

Often, these flawed and outdated animal models are chosen not because they have successfully duplicated what happens in people, but because they are convenient, inexpensive, easy to handle or have simply been used for a long time. But that doesn’t change the fact that different species—and strains within species for that matter—metabolize drugs and are affected by disease differently. No animal models can accurately recapitulate the human condition because animals are not people.  

The simple truth is this: Human disease and human response to drugs and other chemicals should be studied in human-relevant systems. 

Just because humans have historically relied on animal experiments does not mean we need to continue to do so. Limitations with these flawed and outdated animal models are encouraging researchers to think outside of the box and develop smarter research methodologies that focus on humans, not animals.